The Most Rev. W. Francis Malooly, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington, will preside at a special Mass in celebration of the canonization of Blessed John XXIII and Blessed John Paul II at 9:30 a.m., Sunday, April 27, at St. Hedwig Church, 408 S. Harrison St. in Wilmington.
On that day in Rome, Pope Francis will declare his two predecessors saints in a single ceremony. April 27 is also Divine Mercy Sunday, a celebration instituted worldwide by Pope John Paul II. The Rev. Andrew Molewski, pastor of St. Hedwig Church, will lead the congregation in Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, the singing of The Divine Mercy Chaplet and an outdoor procession following Mass.
The Sunday Mass with Bishop Malooly is part of a weekend-long celebration at St. Hedwig that includes Rosaries, Masses, Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, confessions, programs and discussions on the lives and legacies of John XXIII and John Paul II.
Blessed John Paul, known as a globetrotter who made 104 trips outside Italy, served as pope from 1978 to 2005 and was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI on Divine Mercy Sunday, May 1, 2011. Blessed John XXIII, known particularly for convoking the Second Vatican Council, was pope from 1958 to 1963; Blessed John Paul beatified him in 2000.
“Both Blessed John XXIII and Blessed John Paul II had a tremendous impact on the Catholic Church and the world,” Bishop Malooly said. “Both soon-to-be saints brought the church to the people; John XXIII through Vatican II, and John Paul II through his many pastoral trips, and later in his life, through his suffering. I am looking forward to celebrating this important and happy occasion at St. Hedwig.”
All are invited to attend. St. Hedwig Parish has arranged for overflow parking and shuttle bus service to and from the church at the Wilmington Riverfront Lot K (the location of the annual St. Hedwig Polish Festival) from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. More information about the weekend celebration schedule is available at www.sthedwigde.org.
The Catholic Diocese of Wilmington was established in 1868 and comprises 57 parishes, 18 missions and 30 schools in Delaware and the nine counties of Maryland’s Eastern Shore. More information is available at www.cdow.org.